The Redemption of Brice O’Hannon

CC NC, Fouquier, Flickr

CC NC Fouquier Flickr

The last thing I recall was my own primal scream and the unearthly terror of falling to the ground. I was up fifty feet on that scaffold when I fell through an unprotected area where planks had been removed. It’s a miracle I survived.

In this line of work you hear stories now and then about guys who’ve fallen, and you might even meet a few. But you never expect it to happen to you. I was a really safe worker, never one for heights anyway; but you get used to it. I figured I had nothing to fear.

I slammed into the ground flat on my back. I tell ya, the doctors said I never died, but that fall had to have knocked the life out of me. I just know it woke me up on the other side.

♦♦♦

People take me for some religious nutjob when I bring this up; but it was more real than looking at you. It wasn’t a dream. I was there. I’ve never felt more alive, more aware.

It wasn’t earth or Heaven, I’m sure…not a land or city. It’s hard to explain but I was out on some plane, like out in space or something. Then, out of nowhere—I mean nowhere—there was Jesus!

Listen, I hadn’t ever been a religious feller. Church wasn’t for me, so I ain’t telling you I was some saint. But there he was in front of me at a short distance. I don’t know how I knew it was him, except he was breathtaking. I was overwhelmed. So who else could it have been! He was smiling at me. I’ll never forget it.

♦♦♦

I didn’t know why I was there. I never once thought about the accident. So it didn’t really dawn on me that I might have died. I was just there.

NC-SA, g3Tography Flickr

NC-SA, g3Tography Flickr

What happened next still haunts me. This enormous angel, at least 10-feet tall, came from behind me and stood between me and Jesus. He too was dazzling, which is strange to say about a man—well I guess he’s a man. I don’t know. But something about him seemed unsettling. I felt like a bunch of alarms were going off inside of me; that’s when he faced me and, without expression, said, “I am Lucifer.”

He then turned to Jesus. “I’ve come for Brice O’Hannon,” he said. “He belongs to me.” I can’t explain the fright that gripped me when I heard those words. I get emotional here. I could only think of the day I told my parents I wanted nothing more to do with God. They were so devout. Belonged to Satan? His words nearly suffocated me.

“Why do you accuse him, Lucifer?” I was struck by how calmly Jesus spoke.

Why? Must I explain! This man is morally insolvent. He has lived only for himself these 31 years.”

I was ashamed because he was right. I had given my parents hell as a teen and spun out of control when I left home. I did anything and everything I wanted and thrashed anybody who tried to stop me.

“His accident is unfortunate,” he continued and then, looking at me, added, “but perhaps it’s what he deserves for being ungrateful for all your kindness.” He used the good Lord’s kindness against me!

Then, he started rattling off a list of every bad thing I have ever done. He paced as a lawyer might and didn’t miss a beat about irreverence, secrets and things long-forgotten, disloyalties, rage issues, my abuses and criminal run-ins—everything. I still get chills all these years later hearing him accuse me to God. My worst enemies back then put together couldn’t compare to how bent Satan was on destroying me!

He looked at Jesus and said so unemotionally, “He has done all that I’ve filled his heart to do. He is rightfully mine.”

He approached and, looking down on me, sneered, “What can you say for yourself, Brice?”

♦♦♦

NC Jamie Sanford Flickr

NC Jamie Sanford Flickr

What could I say? Satan had told the truth. If I denied it, I would have been lying to Jesus! I was guilty.

I looked up at Lucifer, helpless. He resembled the most confident and noble general you could ever see, yet he was pure evil. He knew he had conquered me and a grin came to his face.

I closed my eyes thinking, God, help me! Suddenly, I heard Jesus’ voice boom like thunder—“I WILL!”—and a blinding light literally hit me like a wave—and I woke up out of my coma. It was two weeks after the accident.

Part of The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge: Manifesto

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